Friday 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

Carl has been fencing like a mad man today and Sam and I have been clearing field shelters and collecting mountains of poo - great way to end a year!

I was interrupted at lunchtime by Carl gesticulating wildly from the top of first field.  It took me and Sam a while to realise what was wrong.  Somehow, Barry Norton had broken the fence, escaped and ended up in Dude's paddock - first time I have had one escaping from his mum!  Dude was a little confused by this intruder and we just managed to get Barry out before Dude attempted to have his wicked way with him!  Still not sure how it all happened and we can only assume Barry had been pushing his way through, unnoticed by anyone, for a while - all mended now.

A very happy New Year to all my readers - and to all alpaca owners out there let's hope it is a really exciting one, I think it will be!!

Thursday 30 December 2010

Fog and Mud

I did do a photo today - but it is more to show you how dismal the weather is than for any photographic merit (there are alpacas in there somewhere - there is also a great deal of very sticky mud).

The alpacas all look dirty and the worst is Greeves.  He is so covered in hay he looks like a little sloth and his Mum was in a foul mood today.  All I wanted to do was give him his supplement which he likes and for some reason Lina took exception to this.  She has always been fine with me doing things to Greeves but not today!  I had to resort to shaking my finger at her and giving her a good talking to.

Carl and Sam have been out beating today so I have been tackling the fields and the lake of poo that has accumulated.  It is not all clear yet so tomorrow will be a busy day.  Carl is preparing himself for a mammoth fencing operation which Sam will be assisting with when he returns from helping out at Landrover Man's.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Still white but it's mist now

I would have been far better off learning croquet rather than crochet last night from the progress I made.  I knew what to do but I just could not make the loop come off the needle!  In the end I went back to making and consuming snowballs.  This afternoon we had a quick trip over to Ashdale where Irene slipped loops with gay abandon - rapidly fashioning a dainty chain (we still have to learn how to turn corners).  I have since realised part of the problem is that I am holding the hook in the wrong hand, I could do it while I was with Irene but now it has gone again. . . . .
The snow has continued to thaw but there is still a fair bit in the paddocks, it was also pretty slippy this morning.  I did try for photos but a mist appeared and the photos looked just as white as when we had the snow.  Here's a couple of pictures of Mitzy instead.  I am a little concerned as she is getting rounder and rounder but only wee comes out - can't be right!

Monday 27 December 2010

The Thaw Begins!

Finally, this evening, the rain is here and the thaw is beginning!  Still no grass in the alpacas paddocks but little tufts are poking through for the sheep.  Carl went outside this evening, coughed and two large icicles crashed to the ground at his feet!

Dude is the only alpaca who is braving the snow.  In fact he was running up the hill this morning and seems to quite like snow - popping into his shelter for a bit of hay and then dashing about checking on the girls.  Greeves also seems fairly good, considering the weather.  Tomorrow we will weigh him again and I will, hopefully, have photos without snow.

The kitten went to the vets this morning.  Nothing appears broken but it has torn ligaments and is now on anti-inflamatories.  The vet says one leg probably will not grow any more so it may look a little odd which will not matter much as we already have Smudge who has a club foot and a withered paw. It is a girl so Carl has christened it Mitzi (as it dropped out of the Mitsubishi).  It has now progressed from the hoover box to the lights box and sleeps all the time - purring furiously when it is picked up of stroked.  Smudge and Cruella ignore her and Amber is scared of her. 

Mum came up for tea this evening and now Carl is snoring on the settee (which I am encouraging as I want him fit for fencing as soon as everything thaws).  Sam has gone to bed (6am starts every morning to walk down to yard scrape and feed!) and I am about to learn to crochet!

Sunday 26 December 2010

Christmas Day Report

Well, Christmas Day may be over but (Sorry, Scrooge McRawlins) Christmas is still with us!
We were just setting off to slide our way out to Christmas Dinner yesterday when Carl turned the engine off, shrieked (in a very girly fashion) and jumped from the truck shouting, "Oh, no!  I've run over a cat!"  My heart sank as Sam and I tumbled out with visions of a flattened Smudge.  Limping off into the hedge was a small tabby kitten which Carl leaped upon just before it disappeared.  It must have crawled up into the engine compartment when we returned from church and fallen out as we went out the drive.  Sam raced back for the cat basket and, as we were running late anyway, we took it with us and put it in Mum' shed to recover. When Sam went to Landrover Man's this morning, to feed and clean out, the mystery of how it got up the hill was explained.  It was one of his and must have hitched a ride in his Landrover when he visited on Christmas Eve - he didn't want it back!  It is now curled up in the hoover box with, I think, a dislocated leg and a very fat tummy from all the turkey it has been eating.  For a wild cat it purrs an awful lot and loves to be cuddled - I have defleaed it!  Carl is not a big fan of cats but he felt so guilty about hurling it from the truck he feels we should keep it so it looks like a trip to the vet to get it checked over.

We still have lots of snow, temperatures below freezing and an icicle from the roof of the house to the ground!  The animals are all doing well despite all this but I did see Lily shaking today which is not good.  The thaw is due to start tomorrow and it will be good to see grass - snow is still 6 inches deep all over the fields and the road outside is just compacted snow and ice.  The post Lady hasn't made it for ages but leaves the post with Mum in the village which is really handy.  I have had a lot of very nice presents - a wonderful kit for making your nails look metallic, a kit for making snowballs (the drink variety not the throwing variety), a Scottish Pre65 Trials CD (Carl has been watching it constantly shrieking for me to look every time he spots himself), socks and many more.  Sadly, I have been unable to tackle the chocolates too much as my tooth flared up again last night.  Sam has thoroughly enjoyed Christmas - he wanted to go to work in the morning but they had fed extra he night before so he was denied that pleasure!  I made Carl go out on Christmas Eve and sprinkle the Fairy Dust outside his window (it is what Father Christmas drops from his sleigh when he flies over) but he tripped and it landed in a big lump and just looked like rabbit wee in the morning - I think Sam is a little old for it now anyway.

Friday 24 December 2010

Happy Christmas!

A very happy Christmas to you all!
Thank you for reading and many thanks for the comments!
Today we were, as I am sure everyone else was, BUSY!!  I hadn't used the poo picker since the snow but trying to chisel frozen poo from around the field shelters was just getting impossible so, with Sam, I gave it a go - brilliant!!  You have to bang the pipe on the frozen bits but it works!

I then tried to get a festive alpaca photo along the lines of Barbara at Beck Brow - no good!  Everyone flatly refused to wear the Christmas Tree hat, they were a little interested in the stocking but then Bert started to eat the Happy Christmas banner.
The other girls suddenly discovered they could walk in snow and charged up the hill, only to discover there was more snow up the top - so they raced back down!


Thursday 23 December 2010

Two more . . . .

I thought I had better get in quick with my blog tonight as last night it again went peculiar and all disappeared.  I think I have Dodgy Lead Syndrome - caused by Carl shoving the end through a new hole in the wall during his manic decoration!  However, stage 1 of renovation is finally complete!  I now have a lounge carpet despite the carpet fitters getting stuck on Bell Hill last night.  Carl and Sam had to dig them out and then tow them up but they made it.  Sam had the new television out of the box within seconds of them being towed back up the hill towards Blandford by Carl.  I know this is not at all interesting to anyone but me but here is a photo of my lounge!  It looks a little bare and there are still leads trailing but it is DONE (almost).

The woodburner is purely ornamental at the moment as Carl has not had time to go out and get the flue pipe.  I cannot go anywhere as the car still will not go out the drive which means some people are getting very rubbishy Christmas presents and I fear Sam may find Father Christmas is a little sparing with his stocking this year.  I still have to get the shopping and the turkey, we have no tree and the decorations are still in the loft but, as we do have two large boxes of chocolates, a bottle of campari and two festive cheese selections I am really past caring!  What is really annoying me at the moment is the radio jingle on the station Carl listens to - 'Two more sleeps to Santa' - excruciating and it keeps popping into my head!

Sam is spending every morning with The Shepherd which he loves.  Yesterday was his favourite job - yard scrapping (he gets to drive the tractor) and he is very impressed with The Shepherd's novel breakfasts which seems to involve a variety of different cereals all in one bowl!  I have finally managed to get most of the house straight but it is unlikely to be terribly tidy as feeding and watering are priorities.  All the alpacas are super friendly at the moment as they are so keen to investigate my person for secreted bits of apple and carrot.  Greeves has been on his Ceto Phyton now for 3 days.  I am just giving him 5ml in a needless syringe at the moment.  He remains thin but he is quite perky and very clever at getting to prime position at the back of the field shelter under the hay rack.  No alpaca photos today as I forgot to take the camera over but I shall try, internet cable  permitting, to do some Christmas Eve shots tomorrow.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Internet back again!

I did write a blog last night but then the internet went down before I could upload it!  Yesterday we woke to a little fresh snow on top of the old snow but then just as we were all leaving just after 6am (Sam to help feed at Landrover Man's, Carl to go to work,and me to go to the fields and see how everyone had survived the night) it chucked buckets of snow all over us!  Sam had to slide down Bell Hill on his bottom and Carl was still stuck trying to get up the slope outside our house when I returned at 8am!  Carl had to give up in the end and I ended up battling a blizzard to do the morning feed.  In fact we had all sort of snow yesterday - ploppy snow (big flakes), torpedo snow (sharp darts), icing snow (fine sprinkles) . . I could go on as, like the Eskimo I have many words for snow now - some of them quite rude - but Carl has got fed up and told me not to mention snow (tricky in this weather).  I have to do a few photos though!

The snow is still with us and not showing any sign of thawing.  Sam was off with the Shepherd again at 6am this morning - helping with burst pipes and new born cows out on the hill.

Far from being unusual, it now seems to be quite the fashion to go to Sturminster for the shopping in the Tractor - Carl threatened to take his but I don't think  an old Leyland or Massey (with no cab) is quite the same as a Valtra or a John Deere

Sunday 19 December 2010

Blue Lips and a Feather Duster

No more snow but what we have had is still there and shows no signs of going away.  It is very cold, in fact it is so cold I have permanently blue lips!  Sam and Carl went delivering presents - after Carl had glossed the skirting board and did a bit of serious feather duster wielding on the beams - and I meandered around delivery hay, feed and filling water.  I then went round again cracking water which had refrozen, round again filling, round again cracking . . . . .

There was a welcome break at lunchtime when The Shepherd called in for a coffee.  He has had an adventurous time rescuing vehicles, sliding down hills sideways and rescuing people trapped inside a 4x4 which had overturned.  They were unable to get out as the central locking had jammed.

Tonight we are relaxing!!

Saturday 18 December 2010

It Snowed!

Last night it snowed - we now have more than a dusting and it has been pretty quiet on the hill.The alpacas are eating hay like crazy and are wolfing down their food.  Little Vellocette got the hang of Camelibra, oats and peas today and hoovered along the trough, pushing everyone else out.  Greeves is still not interested but he does eat up any peas that drop on the ground and he is moving around much more.  His weight still does not appear to be going up but with this weather I am not that surprised.

We had to leave Sam in charge and take a trip to Blandford this afternoon as we were out of milk and tea which was pretty disastrous.  The roads were fine for the 4x4 but I would not have attempted it in my car.  I do like driving the Mule in the snow as the only other road users are Sam, Carl and the chickens so it is not so bad if I slide - not that the Mule does.  Carl is going to get me a heater for it after Christmas and I do need a new nodding dog as the current one has taken a bit of a beating.  How I would manage without it I do not know, particularly with the water (the Mule that is, not the nodding dog which is purely decorational!).

When I checked the email this evening I had a lovely surprise.  Despite the snow, Sandra from Warrenfield had been out taking a photo of my little Harry (or Black Arrow!).  I was so busy cuddling him (which Sam said was highly embarrassing) that I forgot to take a photo of him!
Now I just have to be patient and wait for an improvement in the weather before he can come - and, of course, Zara, Emma and little Dylan!  Before that all happens we have to finish the quarantine arrangements and put together the field shelters which are languishing in a trailer covered in snow at the moment!

Friday 17 December 2010

A Little Wintery

Well - we woke up to snow this morning.  Not a big dumping more a severe frosting with lumps.  Sam went off beating but he did do the chickens and early morning hay first which was kind.  A lot of the time beating seemed to involve pulling cars out of ditches and helping rescue a John Deere and huge trailer which had crashed into the bridge by Mum's field.  I was supposed to go to the Dentist but a blizzard struck and the car couldn't get up the little hill outside the drive. 

Apart from the fact that I am yet again in severe pain, I was glad not to have to go to the dentist as it was taking ages just coping with hay and water.  Everyone spent the day by the fences waiting for me!  It always amazes me how much contact with the sheep the boys will tolerate.  They guard their own personal space fiercely, except where the sheep are concerned.  Little Teddy is virtually pulling out hay from underneath Caedmon who just lay there chewing.

Greeves, who is due another fecal sample on Monday, is looking more and more like a walking haystack but he certainly holds his own with the others and will not be pushed out.

This afternoon the Church window needed doing ready for the nativity tomorrow so I trundled down with a motley collection of hedgerow bits and pieces and attempted something artistic.  Luckily, mother assisted.

And on the way back I took a couple of photos for Alf who is still languishing!

Thursday 16 December 2010

The Paddock Cleaner

Bit windy today with a fair few showers but, at the moment, not too cold. A quick trip to the village first thing to deliver more wool to the Knitting Queen - she has a lovely new line in stripey hats going but the first one sold before I could photograph it for the blog!  More coming soon!

I set off in the Mule this morning to begin my poo picking, hitched up in the barn with no problems and drove to the first paddock.  However, on stopping to open the gate, I noticed it was no longer there but was still standing in the barn!  I need a bit more practise at hitching up.  I drove back to the barn and this time checked it was on properly - then I was on my way and gathering poo at a fantastic rate, despite drizzle and howling gale.   All was going splendidly until I ran out of fuel.  I towed it back down and got half way through the gate when it was the Mule's turn to run out!  This was rather a dilemma as I had no diesel and could not move the Mule from the gateway.  Sherbert was about to lead an escape party so I had to erect a temporary fence to prevent it.

Barry Norton showing an unhealthy interest in the Mule with Barnaby Rudge lurking behind.
Now Barry appears to be attempting to unhitch the tail gate!
Sherbert's escape attempt was foiled, now Belinda, Barry's Mum is looking for an alternative route with Bert, Islay and Sherbert bringing up the rear.  Barnaby is sneaking a drink from Mum, Prue, in the background.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Night, Night!

The excitement has all been too much for me - I went to sleep in the Mule (brilliant machine that) and then gave in and went to bed for an hour.  Nothing more to say tonight!

Tuesday 14 December 2010


Today has been one of those days.  Sam had the day off, as college has finished for this term, so we were both out clearing field shelters, changing water, filling hay racks and then - poovering!  It worked brilliantly, prising frozen poo from the ground and it did all 6 paddocks with no need to empty.  Sam cleaned it out after by hoovering up a bucket of water which was good fun!  The only problems I had were getting through one of the gateways where there is a bit of a tight turn (but that we can sort when we do the next bit of fencing) and  the second problem was a bit of reversing which went rather pear shaped and I ended up with the Poo Collector almost beside me rather than behind (Sam sorted that one out!).  The fencing stuff was delivered but they put it all in our neighbor's field (despite it being the same man who had delivered to us before) so Sam had to go and get that and put it in our field - will not use that company again.

During all this Carl, who had the day off, went to collect the two new mobile field shelters.  This should have been a simple job - but it was not!  He collected them fine from Romsey and then the trailer broke coming into Fordingbridge.  If it had not been for the Breakdown Recovery Service run by the SFS he would be still languishing in a layby - super large drink due in return for that!  The shelters look really strong and very good value, just got to get them set up.

Last night it was a hasty email time to Sandra at Warrenfield over my new black boy.  I came back very excited from my cruise yesterday to tell Carl all about our new acquisition, 'Harry'.  It was not what he was expecting me to purchase so he was very keen I looked up 'Harry' on the registry to show him his parentage.  This I did, only to find Warrenfield did not own an alpaca called Harry.  After a bit of mumbling from Carl, which I am sure included the words mare and daft, he told me I must have misheard the name and his name was really Black Arrow.  A quick email to Sandra confirmed this to be the case but the poor boy will now always be known as 'Harry' I fear!!  The Red Arrows were flying overhead at the time of Harry's birth and as I said to Sandra, I once met the Red Arrows in a nightclub in Bournemouth - I believe one of them bought me a fair few drinks (I was far younger obviously and had marginally better hair).  My friend who was with me said they were not really the Red Arrows, they were fairly short, but I like to think they were!

Monday 13 December 2010

Yo! Ho! Ho!

Sam and I are back from our cruise!!  I have a feeling Rob guessed where we were going!  Admittedly it was not a long cruise - a trip to East Cowes and back! - but it was brilliant! 

Sam loved the boat and we had a very excellent and very large breakfast on the way out.  Red Funnel Ferries provide a leaflet telling you about the sights you pass which Sam found very interesting.  Now I can tell you nothing about Cowes as we went there with a mission!  We were met at the Ferry by Sandra and Mike from Warrenfield Alpacas who took us to see their herd.  Lovely couple and very nice animals - they have had a stunning crop of cria this year and a happy time was spent rummaging in some very outstanding fleece.  Sam was very taken with Mike who had a most intriguing garage - I don't think Sam wanted to leave!  Particularly as he fell in love with these two!
It took quite a bit of doing but I also succeeded in wrestling one of Sandra's young lads away from her (alpaca lad that is!) - so sometime soon I shall be introducing a young Witness boy to the Westhill herd!  There is rather a daft story to follow on from this - but I will tell you that tomorrow when I have hastily emailed Sandra!!

Sunday 12 December 2010

A Lovely New Machine!

It was a little chilly here this morning as Carl was doing the last window.
By lunchtime all was in and sealed so we are making good progress there.  Probably a good thing as it looks like the weather may be turning colder again later next week.

It has been a bit of a  poo day today!  We had a bit of a build up due to the weather so I trudged around clearing two paddocks whilst keeping an ear out for a visitor who was due.  We do have a poo collector but it is designed for horse poo and not alpaca.  It has done well but for a while now it has been back to the bucket and spade for me.

As I was about to start tackling Bert's field our visitor arrived and I laid down my bucket with some relief.  Some of you may recognise our visitor who got his camera out at the same moment as I did!
Paul Help, with his paddock cleaners!  He brought two for us to try out - a normal one and a giant!  The smaller one was great and sucked up the poo like a demon but I was a little concerned about stability on our hills.  It would have held plenty but in the end we decided it had to be the monster version as it was very stable - and we tried it out on our steepest slopes.  The Mule, of course, towed it beautifully and I had to wrestle it away from Sam who thought it was wonderful!
I felt I had a very professional poo collecting stance - Sam disagrees!  I am particularly impressed with the pipe which is see through and you can watch everything whirring up it at speed.  Sam and I cleared Bert's paddock in less than 15 minutes and even I had no problem manoeuvring or starting it.  This should now mean there is very little excuse for dirty paddocks and should be good for herd health and bad for those parasites!  In fact the only one not impressed by the machine was Dude who kept running up to have a look and then charging away in disgust!
Now I am off to have a bath and attempt to tame my hair as Sam and I are off on our cruise!  It is all booked up, Jalopy is ready, tickets in bag - just got to clean the wellies (wellies on a cruise - yes, we need them on this one!!)

Saturday 11 December 2010

A Bit Draughty!

What a day!  And we're still going strong!

Carl got going at a cracking pace, disc cutting out the hole for the new French windows, Sam constructed a new paddock for his sheep, I sorted the animals and started trying to clear poo - all going well until Carl found there were no little spacers for the windows.  This meant he had to dash out to try and buy some only to find no one had any.  I went to collect the new headrails for the blinds only to find 8ft tubes will not fit into the Jalopy no matter how hard I tried.  Meanwhile, Sam finished his pen, tested the new electric fence - got a rather large jolt and is now complaining of a bad back!  Luckily, our neighbour had some spare spacers, Carl got the blind headrails in the truck and Sam and I moved the sheep.  This has, however, meant we are behind schedule and a cold damp mist is rolling in.  I am only typing this as Carl is at a point where it is far better I keep out of the way.

I am almost out of scarves and have not managed to update the shop yet - most of the knitting isn't even making it on there but that has to be sorted out next week.  It will not be tomorrow - as we have a visitor bringing a little something to show us which I have my eye on (just got to persuade Carl it is a really good idea!).

I weighed Greeves this evening.  He has not lost anymore weight but neither has he gained.  He is not crying like he was and he grazes  constantly.  He is thin but he looks quite happy and trots around a bit so I am hopeful we are getting somewhere.  I am not sure, though, that the fecal sample regime is working that wonderfully.  What worries me is that if I don't worm I get the mite problem on Bert and Sherbert.  I am also worried about the coccidia problem so (and I may have already written this) I am going to have a major fecal sample and then talk to the vet about it all.  We need to agree a plan because at the moment I feel I am just reacting rather than preventing.

And - sorry there are no photos again, we just ran out of time!  Tomorrow I will make up for it!

Oh!  And I must tell you about the cruise I have just booked for me and Sam!  I have always rather fancied a cruise!  What could be better in weather like this!  Carl is too busy working!

Friday 10 December 2010

Afternoon out

Last night's supper went well and, as far as I could tell, none of us did anything terribly embarrassing!  It was an early start this morning as all the animals had to be sorted before I made a quick dash over to have a knitting chat with Irene at Ashdale Alpacas.  Sadly, I couldn't stay too long as I had to get back for feeding but we did have time for a quick look at her cria and her remarkably long lasting pregnant girl - goodness knows how many days she is at now!

This evening I was really pleased when Greeves ran down the hill!  Lina belted down as usual but for the last week Greeves has just ambled down and stood around while the others ate.  Todays' proper run was good to see 

The post man was busy and finally the Ceto Phyton has arrived so tomorrow I shall give that a go.  The new electric fence for the sheep has also come so Sam will be doing his new sheep paddock.  Meanwhile, Carl is up a ladder painting the new lounge ceiling which is very slow going because of the beams.  I must now start writing Christmas Cards, which I haven't even begun.  I need to make as much headway with that as I can tonight as it looks like a full weekend - and we a bit of excitement on Sunday!

Thursday 9 December 2010

Greeves update

Just a very quick blog tonight in order to give a Greeves update.  Thank you for your kind comments and emails.  I slid down the hill to the vets and picked up the Baycox Bovis this morning - Greeves loved it!  After licking his lips for a while he come sniffling over looking for more.  He hasn't been wandering around crying this afternoon so maybe we are seeing an effect.  Now I have to go and remove hay from my hair and prise off my thermals as we have been invited to supper tonight at the Gentleman Farmers.  We also have to have a family chat about acceptable behaviors and topics of conversation at the supper table - we don't go out much!!

Wednesday 8 December 2010


I am in a bit of a panic at the moment as we have the results back from the vet on the fecal samples.  All were fine except for little Greeves who had a count for coccidia.  The vet is sorting out a drench for tomorrow but now I am worried it is all too late.  He was crying round me again tonight and he is so sweet.  I can't do anything until the morning so I am trying to put that to the back of my mind.

I nearly had a huge calamity this evening when I went to feed.  They all get so excited about their food that they charge over.  In one paddock Bert and Prue fly down spitting in all directions to put everyone off and then leap about like crazy things.  Their paddock is not too bad and, apart from it all being highly unpleasant it went okay.  However, Lina's group are a different matter as it is very icy.  I started putting out the feed and Lily flew round the corner,slipped and banged down on her side.  I dropped the bucket and ran across, slipped myself and went flying on top of poor Lily.  I hauled myself and Lily up and she seemed none the worse for it but it was a real scare and there is not much I can do about the frozen ground.  I put a barrier round the worst of it and sprinkled some straw about but it really is lethal.  I think I may have a spectacular bruise coming but it is somewhere no one will see so that is okay.

I am now trying to take my mind off Greeves by sorting out Carl's Christmas present.  I have consulted Alf and have a number of web links and am hoping this year to get him something he really wants.  The year before last was an all time low for Carl as I thought he said he wanted a black tie - turned out it should have been a back tyre and I had misheard.  I am not very good at presents.

STOP PRESS:  Blog writing was interrupted by a phone call from Wellground - Plan of action for Greeves now refined - panic subsiding slightly!

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Jack Frost

I have never seen so much frost!  Very pretty but very cold.  I had to wait in all day for two the deliveries - neither of which arrived and Carl is now losing interest in doing the lounge!  I think he has field withdrawal symptoms and a huge urge to fence something is upon him.  This is good except we really need to have somewhere to sit down before Christmas.

As I was stuck inside for most of the day I spent some time fiddling with the blog and trying to put on a link to the online shop.  I did eventually succeed but it is in such a silly grey colour you can barely see it.  I am going to leave it for now and research fencing to keep Carl happy - he will regret it when lots of fence posts, stock fencing, electric fencing and the energiser arrives!

The trusty Mule is having a hard time of it lately with all the hay and water that is needing to be delivered - in fact it is on go slow at the moment which Sam says is because I have made a hole in the exhaust and Carl says is because my fuel filter is blocked - it's probably a bit of both!  We are slow moving but we are keeping going despite chickens overtaking me on the uphill stretches.  I see another blogger has a camouflage variety - mine is also camouflage but it is the mud and pretty frost patterns that are doing the camouflaging!

The alpacas are bearing up well in the cold weather but they are obviously hungrier - going for their Camelibra and oats at a real rate.  Even the ones who don't like the micronised peas much are eating them and we are getting through hay at a rate of knots.

Monday 6 December 2010

Anyone there?

Oh, it's cold here - freezing fog outside!  Things are not being helped by various holes in various walls - and now one of the windows is about to be taken out.

I attempted a photo or two this morning but the misty fog made them not my most successful pictures - there are alpacas in there somewhere!
The hedges were looking very pretty but that was about all you could see by the afternoon.

Sam's taxi for Kingston Maurward couldn't make it over the hill this morning so I had to take him into Sturminster to meet the taxi and it was a bit of a dodgy trip back up Bell Hill - strangely, it had been alright going down earlier.  It did give me a chance to take the fecal samples into the vet - we are doing our routine sampling to check for any nasties which we can treat accordingly.  I had to follow Greeves around for ages before he performed but it was essential I got a sample from him so we can see where to go next.  He has started  gaining weight again and he is really gorgeous, bit of a mummy's boy though!

Now I have to go as the dog has been sick on the floor.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Frozen poo

No photos tonight as I have been bent double collecting poo with a trip to church in between.  Church was in the village hall this morning as there were fears that the vicar would never make it up the hill.  As it was the roads in the village were not too bad although going down to the village was rather slippy.  The village hall was lovely and warm which made me thing poo collecting would not be too bad - I was wrong!  The temperature began to drop this afternoon and the melted snow had turned to ice.  I did what I could but the fields do not look their best.

Carl has been preparing the new lounge for the arrival of the doors in between giving me orders about stock fencing and posts.  We have decided two new paddocks (at least!) are required which means Carl is desperate to get the lounge finished so he can get on with that.

Saturday 4 December 2010

A good afternoon!

No photos today I am afraid.  So has to be two from yesterday.  The first is a view over towards the Ridge from the fields.
 And here is Smudge on a rare visit to look at the snow, he is not keen on snow!

We had a morning of intermittent electricity while Carl rewired the dining/Sam room in preparation for it becoming the lounge.  The new woodburner arrives Tuesday as do the new French windows so it is going to be a busy (and cold) week ahead of us.  Rain also arrived last night bringing mini avalanches of snow from the roof.  Despite this, there was still snow on the ground this morning - but very icy and slippy.  The alpacas now have all got some grass visible and look very happy about this!

So, on to today's excitement.  We went over to Templecombe to visit Andy and Viv at Reddingvale.  Of course, smooth and sophisticated Andy immediately noticed my hair cut (Carl says it was only because he'd read the blog but I prefer to think otherwise!).  We had a tour of the paddocks and investigated a lot of fleece and the outcome is - but I am not revealing the next bit yet!  There was also a chance to have a good look at their new stud, Zorro, lovely black boy.  Carl kept trying to divert to tractor talk but Viv and I headed him off.  Tonight we are attempting communication with Templecombe via a series of flashing lights as Andy says he can possibly see our house from their place - this probably means the village will think UFOs are landing!!

Friday 3 December 2010

On top of the world

No more snow has fallen but what we have had is still there and this morning we woke up to freezing fog.
It looks remarkably pretty - rather like looking down on the sea.  There are a few lanes and farms under all that grey mist!  Sam had to go and push Carl out of the drive and up the road as there was no way the van would grip first thing.  He got him out and off he went with his bobble hat and his spade.  The more hardy girls managed to venture up the hill this afternoon but most stayed in their sheds.

The sheep remained firmly at the bottom of the hill, under the shelter of the trees - mine are the fat white ones and Sam's are the black ones.
Rammy is there in the background, tucking into his hay.  It does feel slightly warmer tonight and they are predicting rain tomorrow so no doubt it will all be mud soon but in the mean time we haven't got to the fed up with it stage yet.  Yesterday afternoon Sam and I spent sledging on a bit of perspex which was great fun.  I thought I had broken my arm at one point but I'd forgotten to take the hand shears out of my pocket and it was them sticking into me (I'm not shearing at the moment, obviously, but had used them to cut the string on some bales of hay).

Thursday 2 December 2010

Finally . . . Snow!!

Last night it dumped snow on us!  I have one very excited boy with a day off school and a fair amount of snow!  Not too much - Carl still managed to go to work - took him two hours to get to Weymouth but he made it.  Sam and I have already fallen out as he left me to do all the hay and water and feeding while he roared around with his home made snow plough.  This contraption compacted the snow so much even the trusty Mule slid down the slope, almost depositing me in a hedge.  So, some photos - -
The garden first thing - just after Carl had left for work -
The view Sam woke up to, looking out of his bedroom window.  The alpacas were nearly all in their shelters - even Dude.  Prue and Barnaby were solitary little mounds all on their own up the hill surrounded by snow.  They all enjoyed their sugar beet this morning.  I don't normally give it to them but I had been a bit worried about Bert and the Suris so I thought they deserved a bit of a treat.
As soon as everyone had finished eating they were straight back in their sheds.
So was I!